Film, Radio and TV

Visual arts, music, poetry and other forms of art.
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Jiva
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Jiva » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:21 pm

Recently, I’ve been re-reading Nietzsche and some thoughts regarding two of the best esoteric/psychological/whatever films occurred to me. I'm sure that everyone knows the plot of 2001 by now, but The Holy Mountain definitely contains spoilers.


2001: A Space Odyssey:

Basically, my thoughts revolve around the musical choices of the film which I think are quite suggestive, particularly the use of the two Strausses:
  • Richard Strauss’ Thus Spake Zarathustra is used whenever the monolith is alone but apparently at work.
  • Johan Strauss II’s Blue Danube Waltz is used whenever material human achievements are shown and, once again, alone.
I think this theme corresponds pretty well with Nietzsche’s division of passion/desire, art/truth etc. The monolith has a continuous passion for creation/development for its own sake and is accompanied by Thus Spake Zarathustra when on its own. In Nietzsche’s terms: the will to power. Spaceships are accompanied by the Blue Danube Waltz because they represent humanity’s latest achievements: something finished, art for external beauty’s sake, the latest scientific truth, and of course a political message (USA vs. USSR). In Nietzsche’s terms: an achieved or achievable desire.

I also think it’s quite revealing that the crew have no idea of their mission until Dave turns off or kills Hal – up to this point they are satisfying a desire. There is no music during this section apart from a nursery rhyme that Hal sings which progressively turns into a discordant and slightly horrifying mess. After this, the music switches to the discordance of Ligeti, who is used whenever the monolith interacts with anything, i.e. the monolith and the apes, Floyd and the scientists on the moon, and finally Dave when he travels into the monolith. That this piece of music is called Requiem could also be intended to link with Nietzsche’s Rapture or Moment (and similar to Heidegger’s “ecstatic temporality” or Derrida’s “atemporal temporality”).

The film ends with the Star Child accompanied by the start of Thus Spake Zarathustra (which is an unresolved opera in the first place).


The Holy Mountain:

Near the end of the film when The Alchemist et al. make it to the base of the Holy Mountain, they ask for guides. One of these is an old circus strongman type who states that he can’t make it to the top of the mountain, but can travel horizontally through its middle. This confused me for ages, because all the other guides are relatively obvious, e.g. the American college student who takes colossal amounts of mescaline or LSD, but also because The Alchemist only makes it halfway up the mountain before suggesting that the real mystery can be found as part of peoples' daily lives rather than from permanently withdrawing from them.

It occurs to me that this is similar to Zarathustra’s ascent of the mountain while carrying a dwarf. He stops halfway and they argue before a gateway with “Moment” inscribed on its arch, which shows two horizontal paths leading in opposite directions that, in fact, form a ring and represent eternity. At this point Zarathustra starts explaining Eternal Return, which I basically can't do, especially succinctly :P. In any case, although their descriptions are essentially the same, the dwarf – and later, Zarathustra’s animals, when he is convalescing in his cave – describe Eternal Return as spectators: the dwarf sits and complains on the edge of the gateway/Moment, the animals sing simplistic songs. Ultimately, the dwarf and the animals superficially understand the concept but don’t live it, whereas Zarathustra and The Alchemist do.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Jiva
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Jiva » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:31 pm

I watched Steppenwolf not so long ago. It’s a 1970s adaption of a Herman Hesse novel I’ve never read with Max von Sydow playing the lead character, Harry Halle. It basically traces the twin impulses towards ‘respectable’ society and animalistic passion within one person. In some ways I view it as having a similar message, albeit posed more aggressively, to the Holy Mountain: Halle flees real life as something hateful, but something he also hasn’t experienced and is thus irrationally prejudiced against.

It’s odd to say, but I’m not sure if some of the major characters even existed or were simply Halle’s imagination. Halle decides to name his guide (Jungian anima?) Hermine which could be intended to counterpoint the German nationalism regarding Herman/Arminius he locates and despises in some of his socialite acquaintances’ worship of Goethe - the film (and book?) is set in 1920s Germany after all. I got the feeling that much of the conclusion of the film relates to ‘respectable’ society needlessly – and ultimately dangerously – repressing natural libidinous desires (sex, intoxication etc.) which eventually explodes into warfare.

It should also be said that although it’s reported on Wikipedia and other places that the colour of the film was ruined somehow, the special effects were quite advanced for the time (similar to Monty Python) while the psychedelic colours of some of the dream/hallucination scenes looked quite intentional.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Heith » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:48 pm

Jiva wrote:I watched Steppenwolf not so long ago.
I attempted to watch this a couple of years ago, but couldn't get the file to work on my computer for some reason. I'm usually quite sceptic of film adaptations of books though. Did you find this to be a good one?
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Jiva » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:18 pm

Well, like I said, I haven't read the book - or any Hesse at all, actually - so I basically have no idea if it's a good adaptation or not. Visually I really liked it as it was filmed when sets had to be real and special effects were actual art. It was rather odd that as an English language film set in Germany not one of the actors was either English or German, the strangest being that Hermine was played by a woman with a really obvious French accent to say nothing of von Sydow being Swedish rather than German (although this is less obvious in my eyes). Perhaps the choice of a French actress was to emphasise the counterpoint between Hermine and the German nationalism of Herman/Arminius though.

Halle was quite a Dostoevskian character: always afraid of making a fool of himself in trying something new and being laughed at. A big deal is made regarding Goethe and Mozart's laughter during these sections, something that simultaneously holds him back but also motivates him. As a fan of all things Dostoevsky I found this quite familiar. I guess Hesse and Dostoevsky were quite similar: bored, upper class academic types afraid of embarrassing themselves, yet looking for excitement.

Although I stated things seemed quite Jungian, I suppose a major difference is that it is characterised as the conclusion of someone's life (including a random mention of reincarnation at the end) rather than a single or symbolic episode on a path to individuation. Not having read any Hesse a lot of things probably escaped me completely.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Heith » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:43 am

Jiva wrote:Well, like I said, I haven't read the book - or any Hesse at all, actually -
I am very surprised that you've never read any Hesse, especially since you like Jung so much. There is something similar about them, which came more clear to me as I had the pleasure of seeing Jung's original paintings of the Red Book in Venice a while back.

I'm not an expert on Jung, but, having read the majority of Hesse's books, I'll timidly suggest that Hesse taps into the same creative vein as Jung does, and they both have this sort of radiance about their work that is spiritually quite uplifting. Frater Aquila read through all Hesse's works recently, and was going to write something about the subject in the future. Let's hope he does!

Steppenwolf is a quite different book of Hesse's others, since it has this almost schizoid feel to it which isn't in any of the books that I've read. It's many years ago since I read it, and at that time it wasn't to my liking. At the end of this advertisement, I'd like to add that "Narcissus and Goldmund" is my favourite of the ones I've read, and one which has given be great hope and strength as an artist.
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Jiva
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Jiva » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:33 pm

Yeah, I know. I actually bought Narcissus and Goldmund a few months ago (because of the supposed Jungian, as well as Nietzschean, tone and influences) but haven’t got round to reading it yet. Perhaps I should also read Steppenwolf as well. Based on the film and peoples’ descriptions of Hesse I think his work is something I would probably enjoy quite a lot.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby obnoxion » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:09 pm

Two of the best films I have ever seen must be Albert & David Maysles' documentary "Gray Gardens" , and Aleksei Fedortshenko's mockumentary "Celestial Wives of the Meadow Maris".
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Smaragd » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:50 pm

Fun to read this topic through and spot some similar tastes here and there. The film freak in me has died by now, and I usually just watch some TV-series to relax. Stumbled on 'Requiem' by accident. First episodes were so horrible I couldn't consentrate on it fully. The usual shock tactics of today and just awful exaggeration of things. But then there comes this soundtrack reminding me of magical childhood moments (there's also music that just feels pretentious), and in comes also John Dee, scrying and the Hieroglyphic Monad. Although, it's a bit like they are flashing with the Dee stuff much like the documentaries of him narrated with such clever voices, it was fun to see his magic set in a rural town in Wales. It's obvious someone in the production had some accurate knowledge of the subjects, but it's shock food for the masses.
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Benemal » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:34 pm

I watched the great Blade Runner sequel recently, and I was also rereading the Dune trilogy then, so I was thinking, this director is doing Dune next, and now that seems like a great idea. The Dune has much depth to it. It's almost esoteric, or perhaps it deserves to be called that. Timeless, though a little flawed too. The exoteric side of it heavily influenced Star Wars and the esoteric, a few great artists, such as Alejandro Jodorowsky and David Lynch. I think it's been discussed on this forum, that Jodorowsky was making a Dune movie, with H.R. Giger (who was an occultist also) back in 1976-77 (same time as Star Wars). This film I want to download from the interdimensional torrent service. In reality, I have to imagine it, which I can. Also if Lynch's version didn't exist, I'd want to see it, though that might be a little disappointing.
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Re: Film, Radio and TV

Postby Smaragd » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:45 pm

Benemal wrote:The exoteric side of it heavily influenced Star Wars and the esoteric, a few great artists, such as Alejandro Jodorowsky and David Lynch.
I might remember it all wrong, but wasn't Lynch quite reluctant taking the Dune job? Anyway I'm sure the esoteric side had an influence on him. The greatest part of the movie is the curious things going on in the beginning that are of such mysterious nature the rest of the movie collapses completely under it's power for not being able to reclaim the promising start.

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